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Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Jan 21, 2017 7:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: One thing we need is a left handed fiddle player

Okay, I had to investigate my investigations, just now, for the sake of the Grateful Dead. I quoted a Buddy Miller quote from five years ago – that he stated in an interview – that was linked to by Earl B Powell two years ago -
Cowboy &Indians magazine: What about those styles of music — blues, bluegrass, and country — spoke to you? You could have just as easily gone into rock-and-roll.

Buddy Miller: I did, too. Everybody liked The Beatles, and I was way into the Grateful Dead, too, who actually turned a lot of people onto country music through the back door. And I would go see them play at the Fillmore; then we’d go to a bluegrass festival in Culpeper [Virginia], and I went to Woodstock. Everything was good music. I didn’t think about putting it into bins.
Then Earl's link to Buddy's interview in Cowboys & Indians went "dry" -

Now that IA and Brewster Kahle are backing up The Wayback Machine and other IA collections in Canada - - I thought I'd put it to some good use and pull up that Buddy Miller interview that disappeared, and put it back on the record for history's sake:


Wiley Cox was Country Comfort's lead singer and heart-throb. He had a headshop in Kingsport, TN. He's the guy that told me to go to Elkins Institue in Nashville. -
I met the Country Comfort band during a hippie camping trip that my friend and I took in 1974. Eric Levine is a violinist from Teaneck, NJ. We drove in Eric's VW camper. This was during the Arab oil embargo. There were long lines for gasoline everywhere. We took a couple of jerry cans with us and filled them up. That gave us ten more gallons of gasoline. We drove into the mountains and went backpacking for five or six days. Then we hit a Bluegrass music festival in Chilhowie, Virginia. Country Comfort was performing there. Eric jammed with them in the campgrounds area. After two or three tunes, the band - all four of them - offered him a job on the spot as their fiddle player. They explained to us how they lost the previous two fiddle players from their band. It was dubious circumstances in both cases, but Country Comfort had just put out their first album. They were the most popular bluegrass band in northeast Tennessee at the time. They had many decent-paying gigs. About a month or two later, Eric Levine joined Country Comfort, and he moved to Johnson City, Tenn.

I moved to Johnson City in early 1975. It might have been March. Eric and Country Comfort's bass player, John Guthrie, shared an apartment together. The band's three other musicians were married and had families and homes. A third guy lived with Eric and John. He was a student going to University of Tennessee. I was there a month or two earlier when I took a vacation. I crashed in that pad for a week. Seven people were staying there. There were three girls from Florida crashing there that week. The girls met them at a bluegrass gig Country Comfort played in Florida. When I moved into this apartment as the fourth roommate, the landlady said, "Only three people are allowed to live in this apartment." I didn't find this out until I moved down there! Then I was told I needed to move out right away. So I had nowhere to live from the get-go. The student roommate told me he would be moving out soon, in about two months.

Wiley Cox was Country Comfort's mandolin player and lead singer. He had a very cool head shop business. His store was located in downtown Kingsport, Tenn. I was hanging out there a lot. You know, I needed to figure out where to live. Wiley told me he had an FCC 1st Class broadcasting license. He said he used to work in a TV station. He was operating video tape recorders. Wiley said, "I got that job because I had my FCC ticket." He said he got his FCC license by taking a crash-course in electronics at Elkins Institute in Nashville, Tenn. He told me the story.
Now I remember that Wiley told me he had previously been in Los Angeles. That's where he was working in a TV station, after getting his FCC license, and his training at Elkins. What happened? There was an earthquake out there. He told me he was in his car, on an overpass, when it started shaking. His car was moving all around on the roadway, but he was stopped and he had his foot on the brakes as hard as he could press. After that, Wiley moved back to Tennessee. That's how I ended up in Nashville and taping Vassar.
Wiley said, "Monte, you know a lot about tape recorders. I'm serious, man. You should go to Elkins in Nashville and get your FCC ticket. You'd do good by that." So I said, "Alright man, why not? I'll head out to Nashville. I'll go to Elkins. I'll get my FCC license. I'll be back in a month or two. Then I'll be your soundman." While I was going to Elkins and living in Nashville, I taped Vassar Clements and his Hillbilly Jazz band playing two shows at the Exit / In. This was a weekend in April 1975. In June, I drove to Atlanta to get my FCC license. I passed the FCC's exams for 3rd class license, 2nd class license, and 1st class license.